The Future Can Be Ours: NRA Position Has Creonesque Quality




“The Future Can Be Ours.”


Dear Friend,

The recent mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon
this past Thursday, Oct. 1, has called forth responses of various kinds. I
think the inflexible position of the National Rifle Association deserves

For those of us who have read, or even taught, as I have, the play
ANTIGONE by the classical Greek playwright Sophocles, instruction can, I
think, be found by looking at what happens to one of the main characters
of that play, Creon. Creon, the king of Thebes–this play was written
around 442 B.C., but takes place centuries earlier–insists on enforcing
his edict that the bodies of those who fought against the state in the
Theban Civil War may not be buried under penalty of death. Antigone
insists on burying her brother, Polyneices’, body. Creon puts her in
prison and declares that she shall be buried alive in a cave.

Although warned by Tiresias, the blind prophet, that this inflexibility
will lead to personal tragedy, Creon does not budge. Further, although his
son Haemon, who is engaged to be married to Antigone, pleads with his dad
to show mercy, Creon does not relent. As a result, Antigone and Haemon
take their own lives together. Then, after that tragedy, Eurydice,
Haemon’s mother and Creon’s wife, commits suicide as well. The play ends
with Creon a broken man who realizes that it’s better to have an open mind
and listen to reason.

So also with the N.R.A. which, even in the wake, no pun intended, of these
tragic mass shootings, still objects dogmatically to calling for gun laws
that would require background checks on gun purchases that would screen
out the dangerously mentally ill and those with records of committing
violent crimes. “Wayne LaPierre, the organization’s executive vice
president, declared after the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., ‘The
only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.'”
(“Obama Condemns ‘Routine’ of Mass Shootings, Says U.S. Has Become Numb,”
by Gardiner Harris and Michael D. Shear, New York Times, Oct. 1, 2015, This utterance by Mr. LaPierre has a Creonesque quality
that should give pause to those who grasp the common sense of having an
effective background check system. It’s a matter, simply, of public

I agree with President Obama, when he stated last week, in reference to
the N.R.A.: “… I would particularly ask America’s gun owners who are
using those guns properly, safely, to hunt for sport, for protecting their
families, to think about whether your views are being properly represented
by the organization that suggests it is speaking for you.” (Ibid.)

Former President George H.W. Bush, in a letter to Thomas L. Washington,
then president of the N.R.A., and in response to insensitive statements
made by Mr. LaPierre after the Oklahoma City bombing, resigned from his
membership in that organization, in a letter dated May 3, 1995. Here is an
excerpt from the closing paragraphs of that letter. Says Bush: “‘I am a
gun owner and an avid hunter. Over the years I have agreed with most of
N.R.A.’s objectives, particularly your educational and training efforts,
and your fundamental stance in favor of owning guns.

“However, your broadside against Federal agents deeply offends my own sense
of decency and honor; and it offends my concept of service to country….

“You have not repudiated Mr. LaPierre’s unwarranted attack. Therefore, I
resign as a Life Member of N.R.A., said resignation to be effective upon
your receipt of this letter. Please remove my name from your membership
list. Sincerely, [ signed ] George Bush'” (“Letter of Resignation Sent By
Bush to Rifle Association,” New York Times, May 11, 1995,

Anyone who resigns their membership from the N.R.A. will not be in bad

When elected your congressman in November 2016, I will support effective
background checks on gun purchases that seek to screen out the dangerously
mentally ill and those with a history of committing violent crimes. This
approach will have as its goal to promote public safety, for children and
adults alike. We cannot allow our lives to be ruled by the policies of the
N.R.A. whose leaders, like Creon in the play ANTIGONE by Sophocles, have
tunnel vision. Creon’s narrow-mindedness did not allow him, until it was
too late, to see the larger picture of human society. By supporting
reasonable background checks, the N.R.A. could help to create a situation
in which, I believe, mass shootings like the one that occurred last week
in Oregon, would have less likelihood of taking place, with the result
that lives of innocent people could be saved.

If you would like to contribute financially to my campaign, please visit
my website at and click on “Make a
Donation.” You may use a credit card or send in a check to the address
that is there listed. Have the courage to donate to candidates like myself
who believe in the principles of the Democratic Party and who, I would
like to believe, live those principles on a daily basis. I need your help
to pay for the essential elements of a campaign: business cards, funding
for signature-gatherers, website maintenance, and, of course, signs. Don’t
hang back and let others, like David Schweikert, run the show. Step up, be
counted, and be glad you did.

Thank you for your time, and if you wish to respond to this e-mail, please
feel free to do so.


W. John Williamson

Scottsdale, Arizona

Leave a Reply